International officers learning from Leeuwin

Published on MIDN Brooke Turner (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Brunswick Bay, Western Australia

Topic(s): HMAS Leeuwin (A245)

LEUT Rafeq and MIDN Aikung on the forecastle of HMAS Leeuwin in

Brunswick Bay (photo: Unknown)
LEUT Rafeq and MIDN Aikung on the forecastle of HMAS Leeuwin in Brunswick Bay

Two foreign naval officers were welcomed aboard HMAS Leeuwin recently as the ship carried out hydrographic surveys off the northern coast of Western Australia.
Lieutenant Mohammad Rafeq Paimin of the Royal Malaysian Navy, and Midshipman Eric Yalom Aikung of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force joined Leeuwin — manned by Hydrographic Survey Red Crew — in Cairns under the an international exchange program designed to foster shared knowledge and practices between navies in the region.
During their time in Leeuwin, Lieutenant Rafeq and Midshipman Aikung observed survey work in the remote location of Brunswick Bay, including deploying tidal gauges, managing one of the ship’s Survey Motor Boats and running a camp ashore.
“I am very impressed with the professionalism of the Royal Australian Navy,” Lieutenant Rafeq said.
“In Malaysia, we have 100 crew members on ships of a similar size, so it is good to see that you can operate a survey ship like Leeuwin with just 70 people.”
“This has been a very good experience to learn from the Australian Navy and how they carry out their survey operations.”
Lieutenant Rafeq departed Leeuwin while alongside in Darwin to take his new skills back to the National Hydrographic Centre in Port Klang, Malaysia.
Midshipman Aikung attended the Royal Australian Naval College in Jervis Bay where he completed his New Entry Officers' Course under a training arrangement between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Midshipman Aikung was specifically selected to complete his naval studies in Australia and will now undertake the Junior Warfare Application Course at HMAS Watson in Sydney following five weeks in Leeuwin.
“My time training with the crew of Leeuwin could not have been better,” he said.
“They are an amazing team and the Officers and sailors have been very supportive.”
Midshipman Aikung will continue two more years of study in Australia before returning to Papua New Guinea with the knowledge he acquired while training with the Royal Australian Navy.
HMAS Leeuwin is one of two hydrographic survey ships based in Cairns and collects data essential for safe navigation at sea.